WRO Staff / Wednesday, Aug. 14 @ 12:25 p.m. / Community, Education, Our Culture

'Can’t Wait for Tomorrow': Salmon Festival Theme Echoes Optimism Ahead of Dam Removal, Condor Reintroduction


Sammy Gensaw Sr. looks on as his family prepares salmon the Yurok way at last year's Klamath Salmon Festival. Photo: Matt Mais

Press release from the Yurok Tribe:

All are invited to the Yurok Tribes 57th Annual Klamath Salmon festival on Saturday, August 17th.

“The whole community is invited to come out and celebrate the Klamath River salmon,” said Yurok Chairman, Joseph L. James. “We are especially excited about this year’s event because it presents a perfect opportunity to share our rich culture and heritage.”

Every year, the Yurok Tribe puts on the annual celebration to bring the community together to celebrate the bounty of the Klamath River. Fresh-caught Klamath salmon will once again be served this year. The mouth-watering meal is $11 and is comprised of a perfectly prepared salmon steak, water and three homemade side dishes, including a green salad, chili, potato salad and a dinner roll.

This 57th Annual Klamath Salmon Festival theme, Skue’n ‘Owook, Can’t Wait for Tomorrow, embodies the optimism felt for the much anticipated removal of the Klamath dams and the impending reintroduction of the California condor in Yurok Country.

The festival offers a diverse range of family-oriented events, including: a one-of-a-kind traditional Basket Weaver Demonstration, Stick Game Tournament, kids fun zone, Indian Card Game tournament, live music from Blue Rhythm Revue, 3 on 3 Basketball Tournament, petting zoo, Ney- Puey Color Run, Archie Thompson Memorial Softball Tournament and more. Yurok elder George Smoker and his wife Marla are putting on their 10th Annual Classic Car show at this year’s festival.

The Basket Weaver Demonstration is a highlight of this year’s salmon celebration. Ten talented weavers, representing the California Basketweavers Association and multiple Tribes in the Pacific Northwest, will be demonstrating how to create a wide range of basketry and traditional regalia. The weavers are members of Tribes in the redwood region, as well as Oregon and Washington. Weavers in the Pacific Northwest are known throughout the world for making incredibly intricate baskets.

Approximately 100 vendors will be selling high quality gifts, fine artwork and sweet treats. The 57th Annual Klamath Salmon Festival begins at 9am with registration for the annual Ney-Puey Color Run.

Participants will convene at the Yurok Justice Center on Klamath Blvd before the start of the run at 10am. Sign-ups for the Indian Card Game Tournament are between 9:00am-10:00am at the amphitheater next to the Yurok Country Visitor Center.

The single-elimination tournament starts at 10am. There will be a $25 buy-in and a $300 cash prize.

The annual parade will begin at 10:30am and at 11am the Stick Game Tournament and 3 on 3 Basketball Tournament will start. Humboldt County’s hottest rock n roll band, Blue Rhythm Revue will play their first set at noon and a second at set at 2:30pm.

There are multiple exciting events happening in Klamath on the Friday before and the Sunday after the Salmon Festival. On Friday at 5pm, the supremely talented Yurok author Shaunna Oteka McCovey will be reading from her rereleased book of poetry, The Smokehouse Boys, at the Klamath Book Nook.

At 7pm, there will be a screening of the amazing new documentary Artifishal right down the street at the Yurok Tribe’s headquarters, which is located at 190 Klamath Blvd. Head over to Abalone Bar and Grill at 9pm to get your groove on to classic rock tunes played by Taxi. On Sunday, the Cal-Ore River Racers are putting on an adrenaline-packed, hydroplane racing competition at noon on the Lower Klamath River.

For the Salmon Festival on Saturday August 17th, please use the secure parking lot off exit 769. Follow the signs to Klamath Mill Rd.


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